Trump–Raffensperger phone call

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U.S. President Donald Trump on the phone in the Oval Office (pictured in November 2018)
Brad Raffensperger wearing a grey suit with a name tag.
Official portrait of Donald Trump wearing a navy blue suit and smiling in front of the United States flag.
Brad Raffensperger (left) and Donald Trump (right)

On January 2, 2021, U.S. President Donald Trump called Brad Raffensperger, the Secretary of State of Georgia, for an hour-long telephone call telling him to change the state's vote totals from the 2020 presidential election. Joe Biden won the state in November. Trump has refused to accept the presidential election.[1]

Trump's call with Raffensperger was first reported by The Washington Post and other media outlets the day after it took place.[2]

At one point on the call, Trump told Raffensperger, "What I want to do this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state."[3] Trump lost Georgia by 11,779 votes, so 11,780 votes would be 1 vote more for him.

Many believe that Trump should be criminally investigated and impeached.[4] Many Republicans and Democrats criticized Trump's phone call.[5]

Background[change | change source]

Presidential Elections in the United States[change | change source]

Electoral College[change | change source]

In the United States, the winner of a presidential election is not the person with the most votes. Instead, it is the person who wins the most votes in the electoral college. In this process, a group of people called electors vote for president. Each state has a certain number of electors depending on how many people live there. There are 538 electors in all. For a person to become president, he or she must get 270 or more votes from the electors.

When a presidential candidate wins the most votes in a state, all of those state's electoral votes go to that person.

States[change | change source]

Elections are done by each state, which means there were 50 different elections going on at the same time. Each state has its own rules about who is allowed to vote.

The Secretary of State is in charge of each state's elections.

Georgia[change | change source]

Georgia has 16 electoral votes. That means that it makes 16 people electors. Biden got the most votes in Georgia so all 16 electoral votes went to him. A lot of people were surprised because Trump got the most votes in Georgia in 2016. Usually, Republican candidates have gotten the most votes in Georgia.

Brad Raffensperger was elected Secretary of State in 2018. He and Trump are both members of the Republican Party.

Reactions and Lawsuits[change | change source]

Trump was not very happy about Georgia's electoral votes going to Biden. He said that there was cheating in the Georgia elections and that votes were changed so that Biden would get more. He said government officials in Georgia allowed electoral fraud and made him lose. He asked them to count the votes again. They did, but Biden still got the most votes.

Call[change | change source]

On January 2, 2021, Trump called Raffensperger. He said that he won Georgia by "hundreds of thousands of votes" and that the results were wrong. Neither of these are true. Then he asked Raffensperger to "find" 11,780 votes and add them to the results so that he could be the winner.

Investigation[change | change source]

According to federal and state law, trying to change the results of an election and making someone do so are illegal. That means that Trump might have broken the law by trying to make Raffensperger change the results of the elections in Georgia.

References[change | change source]

  1. Amy, Jeff; Superville, Darlene; Brumback, Kate (January 4, 2021). "Trump, on tape, presses Ga. official to 'find' him votes". AP News. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  2. Shear, Michael D.; Saul, Stephanie (January 3, 2021). "Trump, in Taped Call, Pressured Georgia Official to 'Find' Votes to Overturn Election". The New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  3. Fowler, Stephen (January 3, 2021). "'This Was A Scam': In Recorded Call, Trump Pushed Official To Overturn Georgia Vote". NPR. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  4. Armus, Teo (January 4, 2021). "Georgia elections board member calls for probe into Trump's call seeking to pressure Raffensperger". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  5. Hains, Tim (January 3, 2021). "David Perdue Says It is "Disgusting" Trump Call With Georgia Secretary Of State Was Leaked" (Video). Real Clear Politics. Retrieved January 4, 2021.